X-Men: First Class rebooted the mutant-superhero franchise by opening to $56 million, according to studio estimates. Whether that figure is a success or not depends on your point of view. Compared to the prior four X-Men movies, First Class attracted by far the least amount of moviegoers on opening weekend. It barely beat the original X-Men, which debuted to $54.5 million in 2000 (or $79.4 million in today’s dollars). And First Class fell far short of X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which grossed $85.6 million, $102.8 million, and $85.1 million their first weekends, respectively. Fox’s PG-13 action film also failed to match the $65.7 million debut set by fellow Marvel superhero Thor last month.
But Fox has been quick to compare First Class’ numbers to those of Batman Begins, another superhero franchise reboot and origin story helmed by a rising director. (When Christopher Nolan made Batman Begins, he was best known for the indie breakout Memento and the thriller remake Insomnia; likewise, First Class director Matthew Vaughn has made his mark with Layer Cake and Kick-Ass) In 2005, Batman Begins started out with an okay $48.7 million opening weekend, wound up collecting $205.3 million, and set the stage for The Dark Knight’s gangbusters performance. First Class earned solid reviews and is sporting a “B+” grade from CinemaScore audiences, so Fox is hoping the $160 million picture holds up well these next few weeks and paves the way for a more lucrative sequel.
The rest of the top five consisted of holdovers. The Hangover Part II fell 62 percent for $32.4 million, bringing the R-rated comedy sequel’s two-week total to $186.9 million. Kung Fu Panda 2 dropped 49 percent – a larger-than-normal decline for a family film – for $24.3 million, while Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides plunged 55 percent for $18 million. Bridesmaids, in fifth place, was the only wide release that displayed some sturdy box-office legs. Universal’s R-rated wedding comedy earned $12.1 million – a slip of only 27 percent and the movie’s third straight weekend of dropping less than 30 percent. Bridesmaids also passed the $100 million mark this weekend, finishing the frame with $107.3 million. Another Universal release, Fast Five, became the year’s first film to reach $200 million this weekend. The Hangover Part II and Pirates: On Stranger Tides will join the club by next week.
In limited release, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris expanded to 147 theaters and grossed $2.9 million, while Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life took in $621,000 at 20 locations. The well-reviewed drama Beginners, starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor as father and son, debuted to $135,000 at five locations for a strong per-theater average of $27,000. And the coming-of-age dramedy Submarine failed to make much of an impression with $40,800 at four theaters.
Check back next week to discover whether the mysterious monster in Super 8 is in fact Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.
1. X-Men: First Class – $56.0 mil
2. The Hangover Part II – $32.4 mil
3. Kung Fu Panda 2 – $24.3 mil
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $18.0 mil
5. Bridesmaids – $12.1 mil